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G.R. No.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
Y BAHI-AN, accused-appellants.
June 27, 1994


On November 26, 1986, Dorio residence was gutted with fire. Five members of the family, then
occupying the house were burned to death. The five bodies retrieved were those of Mario Hilario
Dorio, with wounds on the head and chest, Flora Dorio with a wound on the leg and head almost
severed, Mario Dorio with wounds on the leg and left nipple, Nicanora Tabanao with a wound in
the stomach and infant Dioscora with no wounds at all but charred to the bone.

Two witnesses testified that the three appellants namely, Pedro Cedenio, Jurito Amarga and
Felipe Antipolo were seen running out of the burning house, holding bolos stained with blood.

Another witness testified that Pedro Cedenio borrowed from him a bolo on the night of
November 26, and the following morning, the bolo was returned to him with a bloodstain on the
handle. The accused Pedro Cedinio, also told him “do not worry, if this incident reaches the
court, I will answer for everything”

The trial court found the accused-appellants guilty of Arson with Multiple Murder as defined and
penalized under Section 5 of Presidential Decree No. 1613.


Whether or not the appellant should be charged by a complex crime of arson with murder.


No. The late Mr. Chief Justice Ramon C. Aquino cites Groizard:

“When the fire is used with the intent to kill a particular person who may be in the house and that
the objective is attained by burning the house, the crime is murder only. When the Penal Code
declares that killing committed by means of fire is murder, it intends that fire should be
purposely adopted as a means to that end. There can be no murder without a design to take life.
In other words, if the main object of the offender is to kill by means of fire, the offense is
murder. But if the main objective is the burning of a building, the resulting homicide may be
absorbed by the crime of arson.”

From the evidence adduced, it is evident that after the victims were hacked and stabbed to death;
appellants set the house afire to hide their gruesome act. Thus, the appellant are guilty of a
separate crime of four counts of murder and arson and not the complex crime of arson with